Welcome to book spotlight where instead of giving you another book review, I’m just going to talk about books I’ve read recently that I enjoyed. Prepare yourself for the fangirl gushing.
So obviously there is much, much more to Of Fire and Ash than Eowyn + magical horses. But on the surface, that’s the best way I can describe this book. Because Ceridwen is an amazing female protagonist. She’s fierce and stubborn and loyal. And while some of her choices result in death and horrible things, it works well for her character arc and what she needs to experience in order to become queen.
I also adored her partner, Finnian, and his Shadower horse. Seriously, the magical horses in this book are so freaking epic. I want one of each, please. But back to Finnian, he’s great. Gillian hurt my heart with the constant push and pull between Finnian and Ceridwen and I just need SOMEONE to acknowledge whatever is between these two or I might die.
There are two other perspectives in this book: Jakim and Rafi. At first, I kept wanting to switch back to what was happening to Ceridwen. But by the end, I appreciated Jakim’s story and Rafi’s redemption arc. I look forward to seeing how their stories cross in the next book.
There is a lot going on in this book. It’s packed full of world-building and characters and terminology and places. While there’s a fabulous map, I wish there was a glossary or something to keep track of the different clans and the horse type and just everything. It took me a while to get invested because of everything being thrown at me at the beginning, but Basically, that let me know Gillian understands her world and has so much in store for these characters.
While this is from a Christian publisher, it wasn’t pushy or preachy. It definitely includes obvious themes and Christian parallels (gods vs a single god, Jakim’s story is reminiscent of Joseph in the Bible, etc.), but I think it was well done. It’s also clean for any readers looking for a thick fantasy book without the stuff you might see in Game of Thrones or The Witcher.
I’m excited for book two and while it took me a little bit, I’m now invested in these characters and this world. I have questions that need answers and I’m curious to see what Ceridwen does next!